University of St. Thomas School of Law student
Psychology/Sociology Major, Class of 2015
Melissa shared with us her reflections upon graduating from Creighton University and moving on to law school.
What excited you most about choosing Creighton as your university?
I’m from Mililani, Hawaii, so one of the main reasons I chose Creighton is because of the large Hawaiian population at the University. At the time I was applying for colleges, I knew that I wanted to be at a school that was away from home, because I wanted to experience an independent life. However, despite my eagerness to leave home, the thought of leaving my family and my home state was still difficult. As soon as I learned that Creighton had a large population of students from Hawaii, I knew that Creighton would provide me the community I needed. During my first semester at Creighton, I found it very easy to immerse myself into the Creighton community with both students from Hawaii and also students from other states.
What opportunities have made your Creighton experience unique and valuable?
The Creighton Center for Service and Justice and its Service and Justice Trips Program are incredible. I was fortunate to go on my first Service and Justice Trip during my freshman year. What I found very unique and appealing about Service and Justice Trips is the fact that the trips are student-led and student-taught. I really liked the idea that I would not only be doing service and learning about justice in a community I had never been to before, but I would get to do it with a group of my peers who were equally curious and willing to learn. There is something intriguing and inviting about learning from your peers.
After my first Service and Justice Trip, I was fortunate enough to go on six more trips as a co-coordinator. Additionally, my senior year, I was asked to be a part of the Service and Justice Trips Core Team. The Creighton Center for Service and Justice and the Service and Justice Trips Program played an integral part in the formation of my vocation, which is to be of service through the practice of law. Without these experiences, I know that I would not have found my passion or a path to follow after graduation.
What do you think sets Creighton apart from other Universities?
I believe that the opportunity for student leadership is what sets Creighton apart from other universities. In all of the extracurricular activities that I have been blessed to be a part of, the faculty/staff/advisors/principal investigators of those organizations have always encouraged students to be self-directed learners and leaders. I was always pushed to take ownership in the projects and work that I did. In essence, I always walked alongside the faculty members. It is because of this type of guidance that I was allowed to become a leader myself and thus continue the cycle for other students.
From your experience, what do you feel are Creighton’s strengths in preparing students for their future?
The one thing that truly has allowed me to prepare for my future was the mentors that I was blessed to have guide me throughout my undergraduate career. My first example is my major advisor, Dr. Matthew Huss. In many ways, Dr. Huss has been my toughest critic, but biggest motivator. He is always bluntly honest and extremely realistic with me, no matter the conversation. Although some individuals found this to be intimidating, I always respected that type of guidance. I understood that the reason he treated me that way was because he wanted me to think for myself, ask questions and be prepared for tough criticism; in essence, he treated me like an adult I definitely believe that it is because of faculty members such as Dr. Huss that students leave Creighton prepared for the real world’s honest truths.
My second example is the Creighton Center for Service & Justice (CCSJ). Before coming to Creighton, I had no idea that social justice existed. It is because of my peers and staff at the CCSJ that I am able to leave Creighton with the passion that I have to serve and fight for the marginalized. Additionally, it is through their formation and guidance that I feel prepared to graduate and immerse myself in the new chapter of my life, which is law school.
Finally, my last example is a staff member at the Creighton Career Center, Rena Becker. Although I have only known Rena for a short period of time, she has played an integral part in allowing me to feel prepared for my future. She has helped me with all the “obvious” things, such as helping to revise my personal statement and resume, and sharing with me tips on how to prepare for an interview. However, the one thing that makes Rena stand out to me is her willingness to be present to my story of “Why Law School?” and her realistic comments and insights in response to my story. Just like Dr. Huss, Rena has never once “sugar-coated” things to me, instead providing me with bluntly honest constructive criticism.
Because Rena pushed me to think and act outside my comfort zone, I found the confidence to push forward to apply to law school. Now I know that my vocation will be service through the practice of law. I am leaving with the confidence that I am a woman for and with others.